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Cornwall's Children's Hospice: "The Work Starts Here"
7:04am 6th September 2011
(Updated 7:04am 6th September 2011)
The Precious Lives Appeal is over - we have done it!
Cornwall and Plymouth have raised the five million pounds needed to make our own children's hospice a reality.
Scroll down for our video tours...
Eddie Farwell is the man whose dream has become a reality.
He and wife Jill began their campaign when they had to travel to Oxford for care with their own life limited children.
In 1991 they opened Little Bridge House in Barnstaple and, up till now, that has been the place most families from the Duchy have had to travel to.
He said, "Now here twenty years later, sadly without Jill alive to see it, we've now completed our third children's hospice which will mean that no child throughout the region is any more than an hour and a half's journey from the most specialist care during the journey that leads to those darkest of days which end in death.
"It is a great tribute to the people of Cornwall and Plymouth. It will be an ever greater asset to the people and families who use it down the years."
Kim from Camborne has been on that journey. Her son Nathan was born in 1991.
You can hear her story here...
People from across Cornwall have organised events, donated, bought raffle tickets, roof tiles or helped in other ways to make today a reality. Government funding only covers 11% of all costs.
Jill Sharpless from Hayle has been raising money for twenty years. She said, "It's overwhelming, completely thrilled because I am here at Little Harbour. I felt a little bit like the Pope. I wanted to bend down and kiss the ground. It's a very emotional day."
Little Harbour stands on a hill, overlooking a valley with houses nestled into the hillside, away to the east the green grass slopes down to the sea.
Inside they have thought of everything - from sinks that move up and down for children in wheelchairs to duvet covers featuring the children's favourite cartoon characters. It is equipped with a range of play and therapy facilities, including a messy play area, a jacuzzi and a multi-sensory room, plus a homely family kitchen and living room. Children have individual bedrooms, plus accommodation for families onsite.
There will be support for brothers and sisters too, like eleven year old Joe who is used to travelling to Bristol. He said, "I've just had a complete rest, played on the computers there. There's loads of things to do: A jacuzzi; soft play; art. It's nice to relax and get away."
Simon Cowell is supporting the work done at hospices like this one. He is backing the charity's invitation for fundraisers to take a tour of the site before it opens to families, "On a purely selfish basis you will walk out having spent a day or a couple of hours in one of these places feeling a better person, genuinely. I know you don't think that could be possible but it happens. They have a real effect on you these kids."
Emma Lloyd who has been in charge of fundraising said, "It is a world class service - something that Cornwall didn't have before and we do have now thanks very much to Pirate FM and all our listeners."
It will cost hundreds of thousands to continue running the Hospice once it is up and running. You can find out how you can donate and make a difference here.
Pirate FM's Tristan Hunkin has reading bulletins from Little Harbour to announce the news. He said, "It was such a strange feeling walking in through the doors to this real life building. We have spent so long talking about how great it will be when it is built that I still can not believe that it exists. Big windows, low enough for children to see out of, let light flood through the building. It is not the dark and depressing place that you might automatically expect.
In December when families move in there will be tears here. But before them will come the laughter and memories to out last a lifetime."
Head of care for the site near St Austell, Tamsin Lewis, is staggered by Cornwall and Plymouth's generosity: "It may be the end of Precious Lives Appeal, but it's the start of supporting Little Harbour and the families that come here. It's been a really emotional journey to get to where we are today and like many people have said, it's the start of another journey for us.
"It's really important to know that fundraising is not over. We are here to provide care to children and their families and we need people to continue to support us.
"We're grateful for any money that we are given and that can be from the child who saves up their £1 pocket money every week and gives to us, to somebody who donates their birthday money, to those people that raise from cake sales; it's every little bit that counts".7:04am 6th September 2011
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